Dark times. Millions gone. Humanity must remember.
Many people worldwide regard the Catholic Church and its members as silent bystanders during the Nazi annihilation of the Jews during the Holocaust. They don’t know that many individuals and churches risked their lives to oppose the Nazi Regime and save as many Jews as possible. Through supporting and protecting the Jews in Europe, a light of hope was lit during this very dark and dangerous time.
This story of coming alongside their suffering seldom comes up, and its documentation is widely unseen. Nevertheless, this element of history cannot be overlooked or forgotten. The testimonies of these Christians saving the lives of Jews must be preserved before it’s too late. There is no better place to display this evidence than in the Vatican Museum. Now is the time to act as the survivors are in their final years, and as every hour passes, we lose more than one.
Poland has the world’s highest count of individuals who Yad Vashem has recognized as The Righteous Among the Nations — an honor given to non-Jews who risked their lives to save the Jews from extermination during the Holocaust in World War II. Today, there are 7,177 Polish men and women recognized as The Righteous Among the Nations, over a quarter of the 27,921 recognized by Yad Vashem.
Six million Jews were killed in the atrocities of the Holocaust, but about 3.5 million survived. Many of them were saved by Christians.
It is estimated that it took seven people to save just ONE Jewish life during the Holocaust. According to Yad Vashem, at the end of the war, approximately 380,000 Polish Jews remained alive. In the six long years of war in Poland, the number of Jews who successfully hid on the “Aryan” side of the ghettos could be as high as 100,000 — meaning more than 700,000 people were active in saving the lives of these Jews!! It is estimated that at least twice as many Poles were murdered by the Nazis for their unsuccessful attempt to save Jews. The majority of these people were Catholics. Risking their and their families’ lives to protect people of a different race and faith, the stories of these heroes have never been told. They vanished from the history of humanity in silence and forgetfulness.
Europe is once again a place of war. Nation against nation. Millions of human tragedies.
Through the examples of these heroes, today’s world needs to understand the value of life, gain new inspiration, be shown how to do right amid horrific times, and rise to a higher level of humanity through respect and recognition.
Connecting the heroes of war with the new generation
This is the first time in history that someone will collect stories of these real heroes – Christians who chose life over death, risking their lives to save others during the dark hours of WWII – and use them as examples to future generations.
The idea behind the “Book of Life” project is to transmit this message. Public recognition is the only way.
Exhibition of Christian heroism in the Vatican
The Vatican, one of the most well-respected and recognized places on Earth, would be the place where this message can reach people of all nations, ages, and religions. The exhibition at the Vatican Museum will demonstrate evidence of Christian support of the Jews during the Holocaust with a digital archive including 100,000 stories.
Consultation and cooperation in the field of collecting and verifying stories will be conducted with all leading Holocaust remembrance institutions in the Vatican, Israel, the USA, as well as in every country involved in the Holocaust in Europe, North Africa, and Asia.
The Book of Life
The “Book of Life” project includes a global campaign to find the testimonies, research, identify, collect and verify the facts. They will be digitized and published online. This project aims to achieve this in three years, while the last witnesses of the Holocaust can still tell their stories!
The testimonies delivered through the Vatican to billions of people worldwide will be used to build bridges of understanding between people of different nations, helping them to learn the true values of life in the dark moments when evil prevailed.
While they will learn about the tragic fate of the Jews during the long years of the Holocaust, they will also read about the heroic people willing to lose everything to save the lives of others in the name of their God.
A demonstration brochure of the “Book of Life” Project, containing a description of the project and the first three stories of Irena Sendler, Izak Goldfinger, and Gita Koifman, was handed over to His Holiness to H.H. Pope Francis by the members of the Helping Hand Global Forum delegation during the papal audience on May 18, 2022 in the Vatican.